Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

{Professional Insight} Returning to Work After Having a Preemie

A similar version of this post was originally published in March of 2014.

I’ve always been career driven, knowing since I was a child that I would someday be a television news anchor. Yet people often told me, “Your priorities will change once you have kids.” I didn’t believe them. I absolutely love my job, sharing the news of the day to thousands of people in Illinois. But three years ago, my life became news. I was pregnant with triplets, which is quite hard to hide on TV. Well into my second trimester, I began to face complications, landing myself on hospital bed rest. At 22 weeks and 6 days, I delivered my trio, more than 17 weeks premature. My daughter Abigail lived for only two hours. Her brother Parker lived for two months. Her identical sister, Peyton, is our lone survivor.

Parker & Peyton in the NICU. Photo courtesy of Jim Grimaldi Photography.

Parker & Peyton in the NICU. Photo courtesy of Jim Grimaldi Photography.

You never plan on having a preemie. Sure, I knew my triplet pregnancy was high risk, but I didn’t expect for my children to weigh barely a pound. I didn’t expect them to face an uphill battle, from intestinal surgery to heart complications and lung collapses. I didn’t expect to watch my son die in my arms, and I definitely didn’t expect that I would only bring one child home, not three. While my husband and I grieved over Parker and Abby, our lone survivor was proving every statistic wrong. This micro-preemie was small in size, but had a big diva personality, surprising every doctor and nurse with her will to survive. After 4 months in the Nicu, Peyton came home, complete with oxygen and a monitor. For a child born so young, it’s surprising that she didn’t face more complications.  But week by week, she jumped over every hurdle, acting like a typical baby… just petite in size.

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10 Things Every Preemie Parent Should Know

preemie in NICU, preemie mom

When I think of motherhood, I think of it being a beautiful, yet scary adventure. For many women it's a club that everyone wants to join, by any means necessary. Becoming a preemie mom was a club I got initiated in without signing up. During my first … [Continue reading]

Children’s Books About Prematurity

soon jessica watson

How do you explain delicate topics of prematurity, loss and the NICU to a child? The following books have been reviewed and recommended for parents looking to teach children about their own journey through prematurity or looking to support the … [Continue reading]

Peer Mentors: A Lifesaver In The NICU

The first time I saw my daughter.  It was a scary isolating feeling.

It’s so easy to feel alone in the NICU. Your dream of a perfect healthy little baby may have been quickly taken away in a rushed birth. Sitting by your baby’s bedside, you can seem like no one understands how you feel. You might feel like no one … [Continue reading]

A NICU Nurse Reunion

NICU nurse, former preemies, preemie twins, hand to hold

This is Jeannie. I met Jeannie in the NICU when she was assigned to my identical twin girls one Saturday afternoon. Still early enough in our NICU stay, we had bounced around from nurse to nurse, a new face each day, a new name to try not to … [Continue reading]